I live in Greenfield with my husband and cat. I work full time. Frugality and simplicity have been a part of my life long before they became popular and it has made life a lot less stressful. I love volunteering, home improvement/decorating, crafting and gardening.
What are you doing to survive in these troubling economic times? My husband and I started living frugally about 10 years into our marriage and have continued to do so. Within the past 3 years, we have downsized our home and simplified our lifestyle. We have no debt. We have built up our savings to cover any unforeseen circumstances such as the loss of a job - which has happened to us. I'd like to see some blogging on how you and your family are doing to survive during this downturn in the economy and if you will continue living this way if and when the economy turns around. I would like to give some of my ideas in this and future blogs and hope they can help some of you and/or that you can use some of the ideas to help out. I will also give recommendations on websites and books that I have found useful. They may or may not work for you. We still live well and go on vacations. We are happy with what we have and have no regrets.
Here are a few suggestions for frugal/simple living that we have followed and it has helped us quite a bit:
1. Maintain what you currently own. Make it last. You'll get your moneys worth out of it.
2. Use Rebates (Menards has great rebates) and/or Coupons. It is important to only use Rebating and Coupons on items that you will use. Yes, it takes a little effort but in the long run, it IS helpful. I never pay for our toothpaste, body wash, certain makeup, deodorant, moisturizer, cleaners, and so on because I use rebates and/or coupons. With my CVS card, I get great deals and they are very willing to take coupons on top of the deals offered with their card. They also give you money for using a "green" bag with their tag attached. I believe Target does the same thing. It isn't a lot but it adds up if you shop often.
3. Vist your local Library for books you want to read or CDs and movies you want to watch.
4. Food - have you heard of the Share program. You can save 30% to 50% on food with Share. There is no income limit; you usually pick up your order once per month at a local site (usually a church); there are also mobile sites available. We spend about $25/month and get dry/canned goods, produce; fruits, meals; meat; chicken and so on. Visit www.sharewi.org to learn more.
5. Hit the rummage sales this summer. I watch for rummage sales where there are entire neighborhoods involved in a community sale. This saves on gas and allows me to get some walking in, as well. I usually check out more affluent areas - they have lots of nice, like new toys, decorations, etc. Always, clean toys throughly after purchase and before you allow your children to use them. The same goes even after purchasing in a store.
6. Gardening - Need plants? See if you can swap with friends and relatives. Offer to help dig up some of their plants and replant some of yours in the same hole as a gesture of good will.
Books I recommend:
The Tightwad Gazette, Books I, II and III by Amy Dacyczyn
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn
Living Rich by Spending Smart by Gregory Karp
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Websites I recommend:
or just google "frugal living" or "simple living"